Cecil Taylor Unit & Roswell Rudd Sextet: Mixed
With stereo bowed basses setting the stage backdrop behind his full, expressive trombone tone, Rudd begins "Everywhere" wailing and moaning before inviting the full ensemble to join him. It’s a slow melancholy dirge that allows everyone to improvise while keeping the focus on Rudd’s solo voice. "Yankee No-How" contrasts with twelve minutes of group frenzy contained in a sphere of excited thoughts. Although the ensemble passes ideas from one to another, group cohesion is not as apparent as elsewhere. Resembling a pair of timpani, the basses thunder through "Respects" alongside the others, and combine with Rudd’s low pedal tones on "Satan’s Dance" for weird underworld effects. Three of the four Roswell Rudd Sextet tracks rely on group improvisation over any one individual voice.
Cecil Taylor’s ensemble had much in common with the orchestra music of Gil Evans. "Bulbs" has form and focuses attention toward the featured saxophone soloists, while "Pots" looks to the pianist for rapid-fire percussive streams. Opening with a brisk walking-bass pattern and transitioning to a modified swing rhythm, "Pots" contains a fair amount of excitement. "Mixed" brings a larger ensemble with a fascinating sense of direction and cohesion. At times sharing a unison melody or riff, and at times improvising simultaneously, the ensemble provides a meaty subject and an enjoyable rainbow of sound patterns. The album stretches from readily accessible material to avant-garde fringe jazz. Recommended.
Track Listing: Bulbs; Pots; Mixed; Everywhere; Yankee No-How; Respects; Satan
Record Label: Impulse!